Reading Judas, The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of History

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One of the big questions about the death of Jesus, of abiding fascination to theologians, historians and the just plain curious, is the nature of the role of Judas Iscariot. Tale spinners from Dante to Rice and Lloyd Webber have been seduced by Judas and for many years rumours circulated of the existence of a Gospel of Judas. This was discovered in the 1970s, and Reading Judas is a scholarly, though accessible, summation of the work which has taken place over the past 30 years to translate the gospel and decode Judas’ story. The gospel claims that Jesus asked Judas to betray him, to set in motion the Passion which was necessary for the redemption of mankind, also that Judas did not commit suicide but was murdered by his fellow disciples.

One is tempted to quote Christine Keeler: ‘well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?’ But whether the gospel is truth or propaganda, its themes are thought provoking and Pagels and King provide a concise guide as well as a translation of the gospel itself. An intriguing read.

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